Benzodiazepine Use Disorder: Common Questions and Answers

Benzodiazepines should only be taken at the lowest dose for the shortest possible length of time. They act on specific receptors in the brain, called gamma-aminobutyric acid-A (GABA-A) receptors. Benzodiazepines benzodiazepine withdrawal attach to these receptors and make the nerves in the brain less sensitive to stimulation, which has a calming effect. Some of these have approval in other countries, and some don’t have approval anywhere.


Elderly patients often require lower benzodiazepine doses due to slower metabolism of the drugs. Other drugs may interact with diazepam, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Fatal side effects can occur if you use this medicine with opioid medicine, alcohol, or other drugs that cause drowsiness or slow your breathing. Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. When prescribed by a doctor and used for short periods of time, such as the day of surgery or for less than two weeks (but not every night) to aid sleep, benzodiazepines are safe to take.

Mental Health

Gastrointestinal reactions may include retching, nausea and vomiting, and excess salivation. CNS and neuromuscular adverse effects may include euphoria, hallucination, ataxia, dizziness, seizure-like activity, and paresthesia. You may have increased seizures or life-threatening withdrawal symptoms if you stop using the medicine suddenly after long-term use. Using this medicine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

Benzodiazepine Side Effects

Ativan Side Effects

To prevent potentially fatal withdrawal symptoms, it’s important that you do not suddenly stop taking benzodiazepines. These effects help relieve the symptoms of certain conditions it’s used for, such as anxiety and panic disorder, and are why it is sometimes used for sedation. This article will cover how benzodiazepines work, their side effects and safe use, their possible drug interactions, and alternative medications. Some withdrawal symptoms may last up to 12 months or longer after stopping this medicine suddenly.

  • A person who uses them for 3–4 weeks and then stops suddenly is likely to experience withdrawal symptoms.
  • Available only by prescription, this medication can treat seizures, anxiety disorders, and other health conditions.
  • Benzodiazepines should be avoided in patients with a history of drug abuse.
  • Pharmacists should perform medication reconciliation and report to clinicians in case of significant drug-drug interaction.
  • Anesthesiologists and certified registered nurse anesthetists are crucial in procedural sedation.
  • Regular use of BZDs has been shown to cause severe, harmful psychological and physical dependence, leading to withdrawal symptoms similar to that of alcohol withdrawal.
  • Benzodiazepines may be administered for various indications, including, but not limited to, insomnia, acute status epilepticus, induction of amnesia, agitation, and anxiety, spastic, and seizure disorders.
  • Chronic, non-emergency conditions are usually treatable with lower-strength, longer-acting benzodiazepines.

Benzodiazepines, as a class, work on a certain type of receptor found throughout your brain and spinal cord, which make up the central nervous system. Benzodiazepines work by targeting and binding to the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) neurotransmitter in the brain. This slows the central nervous system (CNS), resulting in a calming, sedating effect.

Insomnia Treatment (Sleep Aids and Stimulants)

For this reason, it’s important to take them exactly as instructed by a healthcare provider. If you use diazepam during pregnancy, your baby could be born with life-threatening withdrawal symptoms, and may need medical treatment for several weeks. Your doctor may want you to gradually reduce the amount you are using before stopping it completely.

Benzodiazepines like Xanax, Valium linked to brain injury, job loss, suicide – – Study Finds

Benzodiazepines like Xanax, Valium linked to brain injury, job loss, suicide -.

Posted: Thu, 29 Jun 2023 07:00:00 GMT [source]

  • The authors advised against the use of benzos, especially in older individuals.
  • Along with its needed effects, lorazepam (the active ingredient contained in Ativan) may cause some unwanted effects.
  • If you develop any unusual and strange thoughts or behavior while you are taking lorazepam be sure to discuss it with your doctor.
  • If you’re taking a benzodiazepine, check with your doctor to see if it’s safe to drive a vehicle, operate machinery, or perform activities that require a focus on details.
  • Interestingly, a lower prevalence of withdrawal symptoms was noted in the experimental group without any change in pharmacologic treatment from control group [73].

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